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Mega Millions Jackpot Climbs to $454M, Becomes 7th Largest in History

by Erik Ortiz /
Lottery balls wait to be dropped prior to a Mega Millions lottery drawing.
Lottery balls wait to be dropped prior to a Mega Millions lottery drawing.Tami Chappell / REUTERS file

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The stakes are growing for one of the largest jackpots in U.S. history.

The Mega Millions prize is already at an estimated $454 million and climbing, ahead of Tuesday night's drawing. But as always, striking it rich will require hitting the right combination of lucky numbers.

No one has won a Mega Millions jackpot since March 8, allowing this latest jackpot to soar.

Here's what you need to know:

How much could you win?

You can receive the full amount in 30 annual payments or if you choose the one-time cash payout, expect an estimated $319 million (before taxes).

Mega Millions is played in 44 states plus Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. While most states will also claim some of the winnings during tax time, these states don't: California, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

How does this drawing stack up to others?

It's the third-largest Mega Millions jackpot and the seventh-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.

When was the last time the lottery jackpot was so high?

The last major payout was May 7, when a New Jersey family claimed a $429.6 million Powerball prize — the eighth-largest lottery prize ever.

The last time Mega Millions was higher than now was when a $648 million prize was split between two tickets sold in California and Georgia in December 2013.

What are the odds of winning?

1 in 259 million. You have a slightly better chance to win Mega Millions than Powerball (1 in 292 million).

What time is the drawing?

The winning five numbers plus the Mega Ball number will be pulled at 11 p.m. ET Tuesday. Tickets cost $1 each.

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